Saunt, Claudio 1967–
Saunt, Claudio 1967–
CAREER: Historian, educator, and writer. St. Philip's Archaeological Project, Old Salem, NC, assistant director, 1993; Columbia University, New York, NY, lecturer, 1996–98; University of Georgia, Athens, assistant professor then associate professor of history, 1998–. Manuscript reviewer for journals, including Journal of American History, Journal of Southern History, William and Mary Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Quarterly, and Journal of the Early Republic; editorial board member of History Compass, an online collection of nine journals; member of the steering committee of the University of Georgia Institute of Native American Studies.
MEMBER: American Society for Ethnohistory, Southern Historical Association, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1995; Mellon fellow, 1996–98; Bolton-Kinnaird Prize, 1998, for best journal article on Spanish borderlands history; Charles S. Sydnor Award for best book on Southern history, Southern Historical Association; and Wheeler-Voegelin Award for best book in ethnohistory, American Society of Ethnohistory, both 2000, both for A New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733–1816.
Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to numerous books, including Dictionary of American History and Contact Points: North American Frontiers from the Mohawk Valley to the Mississippi, 1750–1830, edited by Fredrick J. Teute and Andrew R.L. Cayton, University of North Carolina, 1998; contributor to periodicals, including American Indian Quarterly, American Historical Review, and William and Mary Quarterly.
SIDELIGHTS: Historian Claudio Saunt is primarily interested in the history of Native Americans, particularly tribes from the Southeast. In his first book, A New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733–1816, the author writes about the Creek Indians who once lived in the areas of Georgia and Alabama. Saunt outlines how the tribes became interested in commerce and the international trading of deer hides with the arrival of settlers. Relating how this new interest in commerce caused divisions in the tribe by introducing such concepts as personal wealth and unequal distribution of wealth among tribal members, the author focuses on one specific division between the rich and poor Creeks that led to a Creek civil war in 1812 called the Redstick War. "This book is based on an enormous amount of research, mostly in manuscript sources and much of it from Spanish archives," wrote Theda Perdue in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Perdue felt that because of Saunt's reliance on these primary sources, he provides illuminating detail about the Creeks of this time. Perdue also noted that the author "masterfully weaves gender and race … into his compelling narrative of economic and political disparity." Journal of Southern History contributor Daniel K. Richter commented that the author has "a creative intellect, a fine eye for symbolic meaning, and an impressive body of research in long-neglected Spanish-language documents."
Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family focuses on the Graysons, a Native American family whose ancestors include African slaves. Looking back on five generations of the Graysons, the author examines the family's interracial marriages. The author also reveals how some family members were split apart when the Creeks received U.S. citizenship in 1907 and the state designated some family members as white and some as black. "This is a fascinating look at a seldom-recognized aspect of American race relations," wrote Vernon Ford in Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2005, Vernon Ford, review of Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family, p. 1746.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 2000, Theda Perdue, review of A New Order of Things: Property, Power, and the Transformation of the Creek Indians, 1733–1816, p. 287.
Journal of Southern History, August, 2002, Daniel K. Richter, review of A New Order of Things, p. 678.
University of Georgia Institute of Native American Studies Web site, http://www.uga.edu/inas/ (March 26, 2006), faculty profile of author.